Ocotillo Cactus come alive during the Tucson Monsoon season. They can look like dried sticks long dead, but give them a good rain storm or two and within five days they can push out a whole new crop of beautiful green leaves.
It really is one of the most amazing transformations to see the desert change from various shades of brown to amazing shades of green in just a few short days.
They typically have a pretty orange flower and those bloom in late April and May.
The white spec in the image to the left is the moon. Kind of small, maybe I could have made the image bigger but it is the flowers you are supposed to be looking at and not the moon. I’ll be writing about the moon and Kitt Peak soon then you can see better pictures of the moon.
The ocotillo as mentioned before are almost like long dead sticks when they are dormant and awaiting water. They can get very long but never very big around. About the only thing I’ve seen them used for is weaving into a fence around a property or yard. Believe me there are enough thorns in the stems to act as a deterrent to entering whether man or beast, I don’t know about bugs and scorpions though.
Plant one too close to the house and its thorns are tough enough that when the wind blows it they can scrap the paint right off the stucco. When they are dormant they are ugly. I’m not a cactus authority, far from it, but I can’t think of any other cactus that has leaves; that doesn’t mean there aren’t others. When the ocotillo push out new leaves they transform in the most beautiful green cactus and they bring a marvelous cast of green to the desert.